Subject: Re: Standing on multi-authored works
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 14:14:29 +0900

>>>>> "cody" == cody koeninger <codykoeninger@yahoo.com> writes:

    >> Some kind of "papers" are necessary; assignment is not.  The
    >> FSF has a strong preference for assignments, but other legal
    >> instruments are acceptable, depending on circumstance.

    cody> Such as?

Don't ask me how it works; as far as I know the contract is not
public.  I do know that the FSF has some non-assignment arrangement
with the Electrotechnical Laboratory of Japan for the Mule code in
Emacs.  It is easily verified that code whose copyright is[1] owned
by an agency of the Japanese government is part of Emacs, "licensed to
the FSF".

BTW, I don't see how it can be an exclusive license (as I understand
the term "exclusive"), as portions of that code are Copyright 1995,
and were widely distributed under the GPL.  Those licenses can't be
revoked.

(By the way, can one author of a jointly authored work engage in an
exclusive license without the permission of the other?  That would
seem to be rather messy---I don't think I'd want to be the licensee
without all copyright interests signing the contract.)

    cody> Only other thing I can think of would be an exclusive
    cody> license, which is effectively a type of assignment.

As a legal proposition, that's false: licenses and assignments are
different.  "Effectively" is a matter of opinion; I disagree.  I think
there are very important differences between exclusive license of
property that I own, and selling it.


Footnotes: 
[1]  I don't know for sure who owns it today; ETL was privatized in
2002 or so.  Knowing the Ministry of Finance, I rather doubt that the
privatized ETL succeeded to ownership of former national property, but
I don't know for sure.

-- 
School of Systems and Information Engineering http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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              ask what your business can "do for" free software.